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Agra farmers take over Khandauli toll plaza in solidarity with agitation against Centre's farm laws

India Today logo India Today 30-11-2020 Siraj Qureshi
a group of people riding on the back of a truck

With the farmers' agitation gaining momentum across India, farm leaders from around the country have taken to a single platform against the central government.

In Agra, thousands of farmers from across the Braj region gathered at the Khandauli toll plaza in support of farmers from Haryana and Punjab, who have been agitating on the Delhi border. As a mark of protest against the lathi charge on farmers in Haryana, the protestors razed the Khandauli toll plaza resulting in thousands of vehicles passing through without paying any toll.

The entire Yamuna expressway was blocked by farmers and Booth no. 7 and 8 of the Khandauli toll plaza were completely taken over by the farmers. This led to a blockade on the expressway that lasted for nearly six-seven hours.

Kisan Union leader Pawan Thakur told India Today that the farmers arriving from Agra, Firozabad, Hathras, Etah and Mainpuri districts, armed with lathis and farm equipment, took over the toll plaza.

Accompanied by a heavy police force, SDM Priyanka Singh and DSP Archana Singh arrived at the spot but the farmers did not budge.

The chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab should apologise to the farmers, Pawan Thakur said adding that the farmers stir will continue until Haryana CM Manohar Lal apologises for the lathi charge and the Centre agrees to the Kisan Union's demands.

Hindustani Biradari Vice-Chairman Vishal Sharma said people understand the grievances of the farmers, but the demonstrations should be held keeping in mind that the common man does not get inconvenienced by the protest, as this could lead to negative perception about the farmers' protest.

This is wedding season and people are travelling between cities in large numbers, Vishal Sharma said. He added that by blocking the main highways, farmers are causing problems to these people and this is earning the farmers' agitation a bad name.

The destruction of Khandauli toll plaza was wrong and should have been avoided as this gives the administration a reason to crack down on the agitation, Sharma said.

Employees of the Khandauli toll plaza told India Today that farmers attacked the toll plaza when they were asked to pay toll for traveling on the expressway.

Farm leader Pawan Pathak said agricultural vehicles should be allowed to travel on highways without paying toll, but they were being charged a toll, which angered the farmers and led to the destruction of the toll plaza. This caused about 2,000 vehicles to pass through without paying toll resulting in a loss of Rs 10 lakh.

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